Review: Kid Rock Brings His Brand of Country and Swagger to WE Fest 2016
The idea of Kid Rock headlining a country festival may have some fans scratching their heads, and they wouldn’t be the only ones. Rock himself expressed his surprise at being billed as a WE Fest 2016 headliner early on in his set Friday night (Aug. 5) in Detroit Lakes, Minn.
“Don’t worry man, I’m just as confused as you,” he confessed.
Soon after he promised that he was going to ease those unfamiliar with his music into his set slowly. He started with tamer songs like the Southern rock-infused “Celebrate” before he turned up the volume with hip-hop leaning tracks, including “Cowboy” and “Devil Without a Cause.”
Throughout his headlining set, Kid Rock showcased his versatility, as he frequently transitioned from center stage as frontman, acted as deejay, hopped on drums and played a camouflage-painted piano. Fans went wild for his country hits “All Summer Long” and “Picture,” which he prefaced by saying: “This is where your mom goes, ‘Finally, a song I like.'”
Rock was well aware of the hurdles he’d have converting diehard country fans, but didn’t seem to care either way if they liked him or didn’t. He simply continued on with his set full of energy and swagger — the stage was at different points engulfed in flames, fireworks and confetti.
Don’t question his country cred — Kid Rock made sure fans knew he was well equipped to transition from country to rock and hip-hop, and even a little pop. “We can do that Justin Bieber sh–,” he said during his song “Wasting Time,” when he and his backing singers paused for some choreographed dance moves.
Kid Rock’s songs frequently drop country names like Johnny Cash and Keith Whitley. He even has a soulful ballad named after the Man in Black, which was one of the more country genre-leaning moments of his set.
Though he may have raised some eyebrows initially, his WE Fest 2016 set was undeniably the most energetic of the weekend. As he ended with “Bawitdaba,” it was evident that whatever genre he sang — be it country, rock, hip-hop, Southern rock or pop — Kid Rock effortlessly commanded the stage, and as a result, converted the WE Fest audience into fans along the way.
WE Fest runs through Aug. 6 in Detroit Lakes, Minn., with superstar Tim McGraw closing out the festival.
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